Phew! We made it through a year like no other and as we head into this new light of a new school year, we are planning, planning, and planning for all the things!
In any given year, a PTA Board always starts the year (in summer-am I right?) with high hopes of hosting smooth, fun, profitable, community-building events. The key to making this easier on you, a leader within the PTA, is organization. The more organized you are the better. One thing all of us volunteers learned last year was, flexibility (so much of that!), and that some online things do in fact make our volunteer lives easier.
Using a platform like Membership Toolkit, was a saving grace for many of us because we still got to connect to our parents; even though we couldn’t see or be with them in person. Using a digital platform in order to get what we all signed up for done was a win (in a year where we really needed wins!). We learned going digital allowed us to stay organized while still getting the word out about what was happening in our PTA. As a very big bonus, we saved some serious trees by cutting out the backpack fliers that, let’s be honest, often never made it OUT of the backpack!
Here are 20 sign ups you can use to make your new school year easier and hopefully, bring you more helping hands (and profit) along the way.
20 Sign Ups that will Make Life Easier for Your PTA
1. General Interest Volunteer Form
You may see a general interests volunteer form available starting several weeks before school registration day. Why do this so early you ask? It’s summer time and parents tend to be a bit more relaxed. As we creep toward the start of school, parents also start getting excited to get back to a routine and may be more inclined to lend a hand. This sign up is an “interest” form. It’s not a commitment, but an arm’s reach to see what talents lie within your community. Most people agree that you’re more willing to do something if you feel you are good at it and enjoy it. So why not find out who is good at what and then reach out to them when you have a need you know they’d be perfect to fill.
2. Committee Chairs & General Members
Forming a committee can be tough. Using the right volunteer sign-up forms can allow you to separate your form into your committee needs. You can list your Committee Name, a write-up of what it is responsible for, and then spots to sign up for either a chair or member spot. Let people see who else has signed up, the names will encourage others to join as they’ll know they aren’t the only ones (and thus won’t be stuck planning the entire event!).
3. Carpool Sign-ups
As we start getting ready (and excited) for our drop offs and pickups, think about making a carpool sign-up. You can organize it by time, days, neighborhoods–whatever best works for your community. Your parents will thank you for connecting them to others that might be able to help as who among us hasn’t felt like their kids’ personal chauffeur (minus the pay!).
4. Make Safety a Top Priority for Your PTA with a Crossing Guard Sign-up
Not every community is lucky enough to have crossing guards. The ability to have someone sign up and show up, makes your life easier and your school safer. (Just make sure to conduct the proper background checks for anyone who signs up for this off campus position.)
5. Room Parent Volunteer Form
Your Room Parent Volunteer Form should be set to go live the moment teacher assignments are announced (so co-ordinate with your principal if that date and time isn’t consistent year to year). That moment may be the most anticipated moment of the year! Students and parents alike cannot wait to find out who they will be spending the year with. Capitalize on this excitement by making sure your room parent sign-up is ready the first time parents come to your website after knowing who their student(s)’s teacher is. Their energy might just propel them to sign up! Make life easier for your room parents by using Community Boards, a feature within your Membership Toolkit website that allows room parents (or others with the appropriate access) to post announcements that get sent to the inbox of everyone in the class. There’s no need to create email lists to send to room parents, it is all automatic and set up in minutes. If you can reduce the busy work needed to be a room parent, you’ll find the important job gets easier to fill each year!
6. Library Shifts
Coordinate with your librarian and help them set up a schedule with easy sign-up options. Organize by teacher/classroom or grade level. Use the automatic email feature to sent reminders to help volunteers remember when they are scheduled to help. Use it again afterwards so you never forget to thank them for sharing their time.
7. Teacher/Classroom Supplies
We all know our teachers spend a lot of money out of pocket every year for their classrooms. How wonderful would it be if you could help limit that amount with a supply sign-up? Have teachers send out a supply wish list and set up an online form for donations. Some schools have “Supply Pantries” while others offer this class by class. Either way, having an online form and link you can add to an email or in your newsletter will make a world of difference to your teachers’ wallets.
8. Event-Specific Volunteer Forms
Festivals, Carnivals, & Events–Oh My! Remember–we’re doing ALL the things this new school year (fingers crossed!), so having a sign-up form for parties, festivals, carnivals, and promotions will help in every way. Whether you are seeking sno-cone machines, paper plates, balloons, or helping hands, just make it easier on yourself and send a link. You’ll often find that people WANT to help, they just can’t always be the ones taking on the planning role. As a way to cut costs for your PTA, include donation spots on your sign-up for the materials you might normally purchase (food, drinks, utensils, etc). Any item that doesn’t need to be purchased equates to more funds for you to spend on your PTA’s mission.
9. Parent/Teacher Conferences
Help your teachers coordinate conference week. Setting up meeting shifts for your parents to pick and choose from will make it easier on your teachers and help keep mindful of everyone’s time. Don’t forget to ask your teacher first if they have any conflicts they need blocked off. And, make their day by remembering to schedule a break so they can run to the bathroom, get something to eat/drink, or just 15 minutes to reset.
10. Conference Week Snacks
This one might be more important than the conference slots we mentioned above! Conference week is a tough one for teachers. They are typically scheduled back-to-back-to-back and rarely get a meal/snack break. They go in early and leave late a lot of the time to accommodate difference parent schedules. Think about setting up snack tables so they can graze throughout the week. Having sign-ups for fruit, sweets, drinks, salads, etc. can show a little appreciation during a tough week.
11. Book Fairs
We can’t wait to have in-person book fairs again! Coordinating your book fair for the week can be daunting. If you do it with an online form with an easy link to send out all information and reminder emails so your volunteer shows up on time, it’s a breeze. Help your parents know when their student(s)’s class will be at the fair by having the teachers sign up for shopping spots. Then, parents can sign up for a volunteer time that includes their child’s class shopping time. It’s a win-win!
Staff appreciation, volunteer, award winners, just because…hosting a luncheon is a biggie in any community. Gather items and helping hands with a sign-up sheet that can be emailed with a link for ease.
Field trips, class parties, outdoor Ed trips–all need a few extra hands and you can gather those with a sign-up form that you can coordinate per class/grade or teacher. Bonus: Membership Toolkit’s background check feature will allow you to take your security a step further if you wish.
Meetings, luncheons, free events–having a sign-up as an RSVP will allow you to plan accordingly for any event and send important information to your guests in an easy email.
15. After School Programs
After school enrichment programs are typically a big hit. Help coordinate them with sign-ups and waitlists.
16. Supply/Tech Pick-Up
There are always supplies needed and we learned this year–tech is pretty much here to stay. Use our forms to help you schedule supply and tech pick-up days.
17. Parent Clubs
All parent organizations benefit from a strong community. Helping build that community will help, not only your organization, but your school as well. Set up some parent clubs by grades and help make connections–with ease.
18. PE, Performing Arts, & Spirit Wear Pick-Up
Help your school distribute and schedule pick up times for the yearly PE, Performing Arts, and spirit wear gear. Coordinate time frames with a set amount of people who will help coordinate the chaos.
19. Teacher/Staff Appreciation Week
This is a big week and having ample hands to help and donate throughout the week will not only ensure all the things get done, it will help keep your sanity.
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO PLAN AND HOST AN EFFECTIVE TEACHER APPRECIATION WEEK.
20. Summer Fun Activities
Remember, just because school is out doesn’t mean you have to go dark (but by all means, do for a bit!). Think about hosting a few summer activities, or better yet, wrangle someone new to handle this! Organize some picnics, family campouts, movie nights, etc. for your families to re-connect leading up to your fall kick off. Everything can be handled with a digital sign-up and sent in an email or through social media.
Phew! That’s a lot of forms! Which means, you’ll likely have help from a LOT of volunteers! Make sure to show your sincere appreciation. We’ve got an entire guide on how to show your volunteers you appreciate them, including fun puns with cute and inexpensive gift ideas!
OUR STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE FOR PLANNING VOLUNTEER APPRECIATION EVENTS— WITH IDEAS, GRAPHICS AND MORE!
At the end of the day, we learned a lot through a worldwide pandemic. We’ve seen that a community will find a way to connect no matter what the obstacle is. Make it easy on you and your board and give them the opportunity to do so with just a click.